Lauren Yee, Rajiv Joseph, Kimber Lee, Vichet Chum, Charlayne Woodard and More Receive 2021 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, has announced the recipients of the first round of the 2021 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards. The awards, totaling $1,072,000, allow 28 productions extra time for the development and rehearsal of new plays with the entire creative team, hoping to extend the life of the world premiere play after its first run. This round represents the first iteration of the New Play Awards after theatres’ seasons were cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last 15 years, the Edgerton Foundation has awarded over $14,385,000 to 458 productions, enabling many plays to schedule subsequent productions following their world premieres. Thirty have made it to Broadway, including: Curtains, 13, Next to Normal, 33 Variations, In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play), Time Stands Still, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, A Free Man of Color, Good People, ChinglishVanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Bronx Bombers, Casa Valentina, Outside MullingarAll the Way, Eclipsed, Bright Star, Hamilton, The Columnist, In Transit, A Doll’s House Part 2, Indecent, Dear Evan Hansen, Oslo, Escape to Margaritaville, The Prom, JUNK: The Golden Age of Debt,  SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical, and Head Over Heels. Sixteen plays were nominated for Tony Awards, with All the WayVanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, and Oslo winning the best play or musical awards. Eleven plays were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, with wins for The Hot Wing King (2021), Cost of Living (2018), Hamilton (2016), The Flick (2014), Water by the Spoonful (2012), and Next to Normal (2010). “After the most difficult year in our theatre field’s recent history, the Edgerton Foundation’s transformational investment in new plays has never been more important,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director, TCG. “The Foundation’s support of longer rehearsal processes has always been valuable, but now, as our field reopens with a focus on safety and inclusion, that support is truly life-giving. Theatre artists will have a chance to breathe, and to take the time they need after the losses of last year as they make the plays that will knit our country back together.” The first round of the 2021 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards were presented to: Mother Russia by Lauren Yee at La Jolla Playhouse; to the yellow house by Kimber Lee at La Jolla Playhouse; Letters of Suresh by Rajiv Joseph at Second Stage Theater; Bald Sisters by Vichet Chum at Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Born with Teeth by Liz Duffy Adams at Alley Theatre; Noir featuring music by Duncan Sheik, book by Kyle Jarrow, lyrics by Kyle Jarrow & Duncan Sheik at Alley Theatre; House of Shades by Beth Steel at Almeida Theatre, London, UK; Father/Daughter by Kait Kerrigan at Aurora Theatre Company;  The Garden by Charlayne Woodard at Baltimore Center Stage; Refuge co-created by Satya Jnani Chavez & Andrew Rosendorf, transcreation by Marialuisa Burgos at Curious Theatre Company; Soft Target by Emily Kaczmarek at Geffen Theatre; Wicked Soul in Cherry Hill words and music by Matt Schatz at Geffen Theatre; Good Night, Oscar by Doug Wright at Goodman Theatre; Prayer for the French Republic by Joshua Harmon at Manhattan Theatre Club; The Harriet Holland Social Club Presents the 84th Annual Star-Burst Cotillion in the Grand Ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel by Colette Robert, music and lyrics by Dionne McClain-Freeney at New Georges and The Movement Theatre Company; Mr. Dickens’ Hat by Michael Hollinger at Northlight Theatre; A.D.16 by Cinco Paul & Bekah Brunstetter at Olney Theatre Center; Tambo & Bones by Dave Harris at Playwrights Horizons; Wish You Were Here by Sanaz Toossi; at Playwrights Horizons; Suffragist by Shaina Taub at The Public Theater; Top of the World by Catherine Butterfield at Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; “We declare you a terrorist…” by Tim J. Lordat Round House Theatre;The Magician’s Elephant with book and lyrics Nancy Harris, music and lyrics Marc Teitler, adapted from the novel by Kate DiCamillo at Royal Shakespeare Company; Bruce by Richard Oberacker at Seattle Repertory Theatre; A Case for the Existence of God by Samuel D. Hunter at Signature Theatre; Bald Sisters by Vichet Chum at Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Nan and the Lower Body by Jessica Dickey at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley; This Land Was Made by Tori Sampson at Vineyard Theatre; and Row featuring book by Daniel Goldstein, music and lyrics by Dawn Landes, inspired by A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure at Williamstown Theatre Festival. “A story of reconnection, reconciliation, and regrowth, The Garden turned out to be the perfect play for this moment. As we’re moving through this incredibly difficult time for our industry and our world, it is so meaningful for us to be able to support these artists as they remind us of our collective capacity to heal and to love,” said Stephanie Ybarra, artistic director, Baltimore Center Stage. “With this grant from the Edgerton Foundation, Baltimore Center Stage is able to provide Charlayne Woodard an additional week of rehearsal that will undoubtedly be a vital opportunity to further explore the text in the room from the unique position as both the playwright and performer. Furthermore, this added time will allow the space for The Garden’s team to seek and engage with audience feedback as we prepare to film the production for streaming – an invaluable piece of the process that has been complicated by the pandemic.” “A cast of 12! A three-piece band! Songs to learn, choreography to learn, immersive antics, breakaway ballgowns! The Cotillion, a play with music, toys with spectacle and — for our two small theater companies — will be no small feat,” said Susan Bernfield, artistic director and producer, New Georges. Deadria Harrington, of The Movement Theatre Company’s producing artistic leadership team, added “By granting us funds for additional rehearsal weeks with the 25 members of The Cotillion’s all-Black-woman cast and creative team, the Edgerton New Play Award will have immeasurable impact on fulfilling their capacious vision.” The Edgerton Foundation New Plays Program, directed by Brad and Louise Edgerton, was piloted in 2006 with Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles by offering two musicals in development an extended rehearsal period for the entire creative team, including the playwrights. The Edgertons launched the program nationally in 2007 and have supported 458 plays to date at over 50 different Art Theatres across the country. Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, leads for a just and thriving theatre ecology. Since its founding in 1961, TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 700 Member Theatres and affiliate organizations and over 7,000 Individual Members. Through its programs and services, TCG reaches over one million students, audience members, and theatre professionals each year. TCG offers networking and knowledge-building opportunities through research, communications, and events, including the annual TCG National Conference, one of the largest nationwide gatherings of theatre people; awards grants and scholarships to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and through the Global Theater Initiative, TCG’s partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute. TCG is North America’s largest independent trade publisher of dramatic literature, with 18 Pulitzer Prizes for Drama on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. TCG believes its vision of “a better world for theatre, and a better world because of theatre” can be achieved through individual and collective action, adaptive and responsive leadership, and equitable representation in all areas of practice. TCG is led by executive director and CEO Teresa Eyring and deputy director and COO Adrian Budhu. www.tcg.org.
Lia Chang
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2021 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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